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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (October 29, 1938-)

World Leader/PeaceMaker/Liberator

President of Liberia

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is President of the Republic of Liberia and the first woman ever elected as President of an African nation. Born in Liberia in 1938, President Johnson Sirleaf was schooled in the United States before serving in the Liberian government. A military coup in 1980 sent her into exile, but she returned in 1985 to speak out against the military regime. She was forced to briefly leave the country.

President Johnson Sirleaf is a development expert–the former head of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who has also held senior positions with the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank. She is a highly respected economist who held top posts with Citibank and the Equator Bank.

After an unsuccessful run for office in 1997, she ran again in 2005 and won campaigning on a platform of economic development, to put an end corruption and civil war in the country.  In 2006, President Johnson Sirleaf immediately launched The “First 150 Days Action Plan” to start rebuilding the nation after 14 years of Civil War.  She declared that “the education of girls is to become a cornerstone of development in Liberia” and launched Liberia's National Girl’s Education Policy.

President Johnson Sirleaf shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. She has stated that: “Because I represent the aspirations of women all over Africa, I must succeed for them.  I must keep the door open for women’s participation in politics at the highest level.  That is both humbling and exciting.”

Photo: http://www.thp.org/files/images/ellen_johnson_sirleaf.jpg
http://www.thp.org/what_we_do/key_initiatives/honoring_africa_leadership/laureate_list/ellen_johnson_sirleaf (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://www.biography.com/people/ellen-johnson-sirleaf-201269  (Accessed 12/26/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

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